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Curious young camel investigates Don Birkner, one of our photographers Early morning at Luxor Temple The Goddess Seshat at Karnak Temple

Karnak Hypostyle Hall, sketched by Lloyd Sueda, Hawaiian architect and one of our travelers  '
Photographers' Egypt Tour (Artists, too!)

Catch the early morning light & late afternoon shadows.  
Meet the local people.  Get away from the crowds and off the beaten path.  
Includes both guidance & free time at the sites. Special permits & permissions.

People who are not photographers or artists are welcome, too!  

Friday, November 12 - Sunday, November 21, 2010

Includes: Giza Pyramids & Sphinx, Saqqara Step Pyramid & Tombs, 1-day Nile Cruise,
Abu Sir Pyramids & Temples, Citadel & Alabaster Mosque, Avenue of the Tent Makers, 
Cairo Souk (Old Islamic Cairo), Khan El Khalili medieval bazaar, Dendera Hathor Temple, 
Valley of the Kings, Ramesseum Temple, Luxor Temple, Karnak Temple with Open Air Museum, 
Hatshepsut's Temple, optional early morning camel or horseback ride at the pyramids.
 Day-by-Day Itinerary

Ruth - by Jack Fuller, New Yorker cartoonist and one of our travelersPhotos & Artwork from our Previous Travelers
Philip Brautigam's website chronicling one of our tours  -  Book of Egypt Photos

Art by Mary Ann Daley
  -  Slide Show by Judy Lovell   -   Egypt Photo Greeting cards by Judy Lovell


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Day-by-Day Itinerary


Nov 12, 2010

Giza Pyramids from the plane
Arrivals in Cairo. Plan to arrive at Cairo airport sometime during the day or evening, Friday, November 12, 2010.  For those traveling from North American, Asia or Australia, you will need to leave on Thursday, November 11, with an overnight flight.  From Europe or the UK, you depart from home and arrive in Egypt the same day.

We will have an English-speaking representative meet you at Cairo Airport, regardless of which day and time you arrive.  He will meet you inside the airport terminal.  You will then be brought to our hotel in Giza, near the pyramids.

If you arrive in the afternoon you might like to see the
Sound & Light Show at the pyramids tonight (optional).
Hotel: 5-star hotel near the pyramids.  Mena House Oberoi.  Meals: none
Nov 13, 2010

Red Pyramid, early morning - Dashur

Blue Lotus Guesthouse, in the Black Land near Saqqara
Blue Lotus Guest House

Famer near the Blue Lotus Guesthouse

A pyramid at Abu Sir with mortuary temple
Abu Sir
Bent Pyramids at DashurWe begin our tour together with sites from Ancient Egypt's Old Kingdom (2,575-2,150 B.C.).  Leaving Giza (where our hotel is) we drive southward through fertile farmlands to the pyramids at Dashur, dated even older than the pyramids at Giza!  It is also a chance to begin savoring the riches of Egypt without the huge crowds.  The desert is rich with inspiration and the vastness is exhilarating.   More photos of Dashur.

We arrive at Dashur just as it opens.  The desert and pyramids are all ours to enjoy to the fullest.  No vendors or souvenir sellers here, and very few other tourists visit this site.  You can roam the desert looking for just the right angle for your photos, do the walk between the two pyramids or go inside the Red Pyramid (and the Bent Pyramid, too, if they have opened it yet).

Red Pyramid is almost as large as the Great Pyramid at Giza.  The surface area is the same, but the slope is gentler, so it is not as tall.  The Bent pyramid was a key center of worship during the Middle Kingdom, and was much more important than Giza at that time.  It is also the only pyramid to retain most of its original casing stones.  The Black Pyramid (Middle Kingdom mud brick) can also be seen from here.  

Ruth has some friends in the Saqqara area who have a guesthouse in the Black Land, the farming area.  Hopefully they will be home and able to welcome us for lunch.  It's also a chance to see some the nearby
farmers and their animals up close.  The farmers love getting the photos of themselves that Ruth brings to them each time.  See Blue Lotus of Saqqara Guesthouse.

In the afternoon we visit a site that is not open to the general public - the Pyramids at Abu Sir.  We  will be applying for a Special Permit  that will allow us entrance to this site.  There are 3 pyramids, each with a mortuary temple, and an interesting noble's tomb.  There is also a high point here from which we can see the other pyramids in the distance.

Hotel: 5-star hotel near the pyramids.  Mena House Oberoi.  Meals: BB, L.

Nov 14, 2010

Morning camel
 or horseback ride

The Great Sphinx of Giza
Sphinx - morning

Valley Temple, donkey and Step Pyramid
Early morning ride at Giza pyramidsAn early morning camel or horseback ride on the Giza Plateau will give us a chance to photograph the pyramids from the desert.  Sometimes the pyramids are shrouded in a mist, sometimes it is clear.  When the Giza Plateau opens at 8am, we will then also visit the Sphinx before the crowds arrive.  The Sphinx faces east to greet the morning sun, so morning is the time that the light shines on the face.

Back to the hotel for breakfast and some free time.   Or you might prefer to sleep in and meet us at breakfast.  At 11am we leave for Saqqara.  Again we drive south of Giza through the Black Land where the people have farmed the rich Nile silt for thousands of years.

Step Pyramid at Saqqara is dated even older than pyramids at Giza and Dashur.  It was here that the genius architect Imhotep built the first monuments in stone.  There is much to see at Saqqara, so we will spend most of our day here, staying until closing.  As the crowds leave and the shadows lengthen there is a hushed feeling at this holy site.

Optional shopping opportunity (after the antiquity sites close): 
-Papyrus Institute & Shop.  See how the papyrus "paper" is made from the papyrus plants.  
Hotel: Mena House Oberoi.  Meals: BB, D.
Nov 15, 2010

Panoramic view of Cairo with Giza pyramids in the distance
Cairo Panorama

Kusheri - Eat like an Egyptian!

Colorful applique bedspread sewn by the man displaying it
Bedspread made
 by Tent Makers

Khan El Khalili BazaarToday we leave the desert antiquity sites and travel into historic downtown Cairo.  We begin with a panoramic view of the whole city from the Citadel, first built in the 12th century A.D. by Salah al-Din (Saladin).  Here we also visit the famous Mosque of Mohamed Ali, also called the "Alabaster Mosque," (photography is allowed).

Lunch is a local Egyptian specialty,
Kusheri!  Some of our travelers loved Kusheri so much that they started making it as soon as they got back, and soon had many kusheri fans at home, too.  But there is nothing like Cairo kusheri!  The kusheri place is also a chance to see the life of the local people.

Next we travel through old narrow streets to a place known as the
"Avenue of the Tent Makers."  It is here that the men sew the intricate appliqué that is one of the crafts Egypt is famous for.  The colors are vivid and being here feels like visiting an art exhibit of impressionist paintings or Tibetan mandalas.  The men are also lots of fun to visit with and are happy to chat while they sew.

Leaving the Tent Makers Avenue, we pass through one of the old gates in the city wall that surrounded Cairo.  This street is the local
Souk, the place where the local people shop for all kinds of goods.

At the end of this souk is the famous
Khan El Khalili, the old medieval bazaar which has now become a tourist attraction, both for foreign tourists and Egyptian tourists visiting Cairo.  You can enjoy the bargaining and shopping, or you can sit in the cafe and try a shisha - a water pipe with flavored tobacco.  The apple shisha is one of the most common flavors.

Hotel: Mena House Oberoi.  Meals: BB, L.

Nov 16, 2010

Photographer Judy Lovell and her sister at the Giza Pyramids
Giza Pyramids

Giza Solar Boat - 4,500 years old!
Solar Boat Museum

Touching the Sphinx
Private Sphinx visit
Giza sunsetToday is Day 5 of our tour.  Often by this time people need a little breather from all the activity.  We will have a free morning to enjoy the hotel facilities, sort over our photos or just sleep in.  (If you want to leave early for the Giza pyramids we will also make arrangements so that you can do that).

In the late morning we leave for the
Giza Plateau to visit the sights.  We have already enjoyed the Giza Plateau - the pyramids and Sphinx - in the early morning.  Today we will visit in the later part of the day, which will bring out a whole different set of options for photos.  

You will have the opportunity to go inside whichever pyramids are open.  Usually this is the
Great Pyramid and the 2nd (middle) pyramid - Khafre or Chephren, but this may change according to what the Egyptian Department of Antiquities decides.

We will also visit the
Solar Boat Museum, if photography is still allowed here, and the Mortuary Temples beside each of the 3 pyramids.

We are also applying for a
Special Permit to stay on the Giza Plateau and go inside the Sphinx enclosure after hours, when the site has closed.  Our time slot is from 4 - 6pm.  Sunset that day is at 5 pm.

Time to pack up and prepare for our departure from Cairo tomorrow morning.

Hotel: Mena House Oberoi.  Meals: BB, D.
Nov 17, 2010

Ramesseum Temple, West Bank of Luxor
Valley of the Kings

Statues of Hatshepsut at Deir El Bahari
This morning we check out of our hotel in Giza-Cairo and take a short 1-hour flight south to Luxor.   MS 359 leaves Cairo at 6:30am and arrives in Luxor at 7:40am.

Here in Luxor we see the temples and tombs from the New Kingdom era (1550-1070 B.C.).  We begin our sightseeing on the
West Bank of Luxor, where some of the most famous artifacts have been found, including the King Tut collection.

One of our favorite temples is not on the normal tourist route, so it is particularly nice to visit.  The mortuary temple of the famous Ramesses II is called the
Ramesseum. It is also a good temple to start with because it is not too big and gives us a chance to learn the basic elements of the temples. This is also the temple with the fallen colossus that inspired a poem by Shelley. 

Although they no longer allow us to take our cameras inside the
Valley of the Kings, we will still visit this site because it is one of the most famous in the world.  This is where Howard Carter found King Tut's tomb and amazed the world with the many marvelous things found therein.  The tomb of Ramesses VI was recently restored and is truly spectacular (extra ticket is included in your tour).  You will also get to choose another 3 tombs to visit.

No trip to Egypt would be complete without a visit to
Hatshepsut's Deir El Bahari Temple.  Called "The Most Splendid of All," it was built at the very beginning of the New Kingdom and served as an inspiration for the generations to come.  Late afternoon is an ideal time to visit, as the large crowds from the cruise boats will have already finished their visits there.

Hotel: Sonesta St. George, Luxor,  5*  Meals: BB, L..
Nov 18, 2010

Abydos Temple
Hypostyle Hall, Hathor Temple, DenderaToday we travel north of Luxor to the legendary temple of Abydos, the place of pilgrimage from the dawn of Ancient Egyptian history.  Here is where many of the oldest artifacts have been found.  The Temple of Seti 1st is from the New Kingdom and is heralded as the "High Art of Ancient Egypt."  See Abydos photos here.

Next we visit the
Hathor Temple at Dendera which was built during the Ptolemaic (Greek) era to honor the Goddess Hathor.  Part of the main Hypostyle Hall has been cleaned recently, and the colors are breathtaking.  There is also an interesting underground crypt and a representation of Cleopatra.  You may have seen this temple in the movie, "Death on the Nile."

Hotel: Sonesta St. George, Luxor,  5*  Meals: BB, D.
Nov 19, 2010

Balloon Ride
Balloon Ride 
Luxor Temple
Karnak Temple Complex
Karnak Temple

Drum maker demonstrates his wares, Luxor bazaar
Shopping at the street bazaar
Early morning at Luxor TempleIf you would like to try a sunrise balloon ride over the West Bank of Luxor, we can make arrangements for you (additional cost).  Lots of opportunites for photos at different heights above the antiquities and farming areas on the West Bank.

Today we see the sights on the
East Bank of Luxor.  We begin with the Temple of Luxor before the crowds arrive.  The Avenue of the Sphinxes leads to us to this picturesque temple with its obelisk and colossi statues of Ramesses II guarding the entrance.  Built mostly by Amenhotep III, there is a wide open court that portends the open-roofed temples of his successor, Akhenaten, worshipper of the sun-god Aten.

Next we visit the largest temple complex of all,
Karnak.  Not just a temple, but a whole series of temples with the magnificent Hypostyle Hall in the middle of the central axis.  Karnak is so stunning one could spend a week photographing here.  So we will visit it twice.  Today we visit in the late morning and stay until it closes at dusk.  Another day we will return for an early morning visit.

"The Two Ladies" - Goddess of Upper & Lower Egypt, White Chapel, Karnak Open Air MuseumWe also visit the
Open Air Museum, where we see the Red Chapel of Hatshepsut and Thutmosis III, the Middle Kingdom White Chapel and a number of other well-preserved artifacts.  Here we find some of the most exquisite carvings of hieroglyphs.    

 Optional shopping opportunity in the evening: Luxor is a relaxing town with many delightful shops and a
street bazaar that is perfect for buying all those inexpensive souvenirs.  You can enjoy the bazaar or head back to the hotel, whichever you would like.

Hotel: Sonesta St. George, Luxor,  5*  Meals: BB, L..
Nov 20, 2010

Early morning at Karnak Temple, Luxor
Sunset on the Nile
Nile Boat ride
Final Meeting
Flight Luxor-Cairo
Karnak Temple opens at 6am.  The privilege of being there before the crowds arrive in the clear morning light is like nothing else.  When we visited Karnak 2 days ago, our Egyptologist gave us a guided tour of the temple complex (you can always skip the guided tours, if you choose).  This morning we have free time to go wherever we choose. 

Back to the hotel about 9am.  There is time for a late breakfast before our
boat ride on the Nile.  As we sail slowly up and then back down the river, we see people and animals living a life that has changed very little for the last 2-3,000 years.  The Nile is often referred to as timeless, and it does feel like we are traveling into another time, a time when life was much simpler.

Afterwards we gather for our final meeting.  There will be a chance for each person to
share 10 or so of their best photos, or sketches, from the tour (only if you choose to).  We will have a projector so that we can all see and enjoy the talents and skills of our fellow travelers.  It also gives us a chance to review our trip together before each going our separate ways.

Late afternoon
flight back to Cairo for those who are completing their tour here.  MS 366 leaves Luxor at 5:00pm and arrives in Cairo at 6:10pm. Your hotel is right beside Cairo Airport to make a stress-free departure the next day. 

You can also extend your time in Egypt with extra days in Cairo or with one of our optional extensions.*

*Please note that because photography is not allowed in the Cairo Museum, Luxor Museum or Imhotep Museum, we have not included these in this itinerary.  You may want to visit them before leaving Egypt.

Hotel: Iberotel Heliopolis, near Cairo Airport, 5*.   Meal: BB, L.
Nov 21, 2010


Departures for home.  There is a free shuttle from the hotel to the airport terminals. Hotel check out is by noon.
To Register for this tour.

You can add additional days in Cairo: sightseeing in Old Cairo (Coptic churches and Coptic museum), a visit to the Cairo museum, Islamic sights and museum. Contact Us.

For Add-on Extensions to Petra, Alexandria, Mt. Sinai, Desert Tours, Red Sea: see Tour Extensions.

Meal: BB only. 
There may be changes to this itinerary which are beyond our control.

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All photos on this page are by Ruth Shilling.  Please contact us to use them in your project.


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